Letter to the Editor: Response to “What about Rape?”

By Victoria Erdman

Opinion Contributor

On behalf of Students for Life, I would like to respectfully respond to the article recently written by Elizabeth Sawka, “What about rape?”  First of all, I would like to thank Elizabeth for initiating this conversation about our display.  Different people will interpret quotes in different ways, and I appreciate that Elizabeth voiced her concern over her interpretation.  In this article, I would like to explain Canisius Students for Life’s intentions in including this quote on our bulletin board, and strive to address the concerns of Elizabeth–and I’m sure of many others in our campus community.

Our club members had a quite different interpretation of the quote, “do not do to your baby what that guy did to you,” than did Elizabeth.  Elizabeth wrote that the quote “demonizes victims of rape that chose to have an abortion.”  I want to apologize up front to anyone reading this article who herself is a victim of rape who chose to have an abortion, and felt shamed by this quote; our club by no means wishes to shame or demonize you.  In our eyes, we chose this quote thinking more of victims of rape who have not yet chosen to have an abortion, out of love for that woman, to help her to see that she has the power to stop the cycle of violence begun by the rapist.

That being said, though, our club also understands that such an action is not as easy for a woman who has just been raped as it sounds.  Elizabeth also mentions in her article, “I think it’s fair to say that any woman in this situation needs support,” to which our club responds, “Absolutely!”  That is why, at our more recent club events, we have included information on local resources for women in crisis pregnancy situations and women who have had abortions.  We believe that pro-life and pro-woman go hand-in-hand for the very reason Elizabeth mentioned: To give women in difficult situations–including rape–support.  Our club recently invited Barb Bidak, the director of Summit Life Outreach Center–a pregnancy resource center–to give a talk entitled, “Pro-Woman, Pro-Life,” and her talk deeply confirmed the pro-life movement’s compassionate support for women.  Summit Life Outreach Center focuses on reaching out to women in compassion and empowering them to make a well-informed decision, as a statement on the main page of their website relates: “No one needs anyone to tell them what to do. We are not here to do that. We are committed to empowering women to make decisions without manipulating them. We all need support as we take the time to look at our options and walk through our fears. We are here to provide that support.”  This is what the pro-life movement is all about, and is why we consider ourselves both pro-woman AND pro-life.

I hope that my article better explains the motives of Canisius Students for Life.  As the President of the club, I would like it to be known that the intention of our club in putting this and all of the other pro-life feminist quotes on our bulletin board during the month of March was not to offend people–the last thing our club wants to do is to offend anyone.  The point of our club is not to offend, or even to prove a point, but rather, to educate others about the pro-life position, listen to others’ views, and dialogue with others in an effort to touch hearts and minds.  We are not here just to inundate you with quotes; the quotes are necessary to get a conversation going and to fulfill the educational aspect of our club, but once they’re out there, we want to talk with you about it!  We want the quotes and other information we put out on our bulletin board to start conversations about highly debated life issues.  Even if you disagree, I see that as a good sign, because it’s so much better than apathy.  If you disagree with us, but are open to talking with us and listening to what we have to say, that’s awesome!  We are more than happy to talk with you.  If you have any questions for us, please feel free to email us at stu4life@canisius.edu.

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